Vietnam’s MIC issues roadmap for planned 2G cutoff in September

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has officially revealed its roadmap to switch off 2G mobile services, which stipulates a hard cutoff date of September 16 for 2G-only handsets, and a full cutoff of services in September 2026.

The MIC has been planning to cut off 2G services for some time in order to free up the 900-MHz and 1800-MHz bands for other services, including 4G and 5G in the immediate term and potentially 6G in 2030. In February, the MIC said it intended to switch off 2G sometime in September, which is when current 2G spectrum licences for telcos expire.

At the time, it also ordered telcos to stop accepting subscribers with mobile phones that only support 2G technology unless they are on the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) list of conformity certification.

According to a statement from state-owned VNPT this week, the MIC roadmap orders telcos to stop providing services to all 2G-only phones starting September 16. Telcos are also required to ensure that 4G coverage is expanded into any areas currently only receiving 2G service.

The September 16 cutoff date includes exceptions for M2M 2G devices, as well as Vietnamese offshore platforms and the coastal archipelagos of Truong Sa (Spratley Islands) and Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands). These will be allowed to continue to use 2G services until September 15, 2026.

The MIC also said it will not relicense the 900/1800 MHz bands to any operator that has not complied with the roadmap’s requirements.

Meanwhile, between now and September 16, the MIC urged telcos to provide incentives for 2G-ony users to trade up to a 4G smartphone, to include subsidies if necessary.

VNPT said its mobile unit VinaPhone is offering a promotion for 2G customers in Hanoi to upgrade to 4G. Under the plan, 2G customers who switch to a 4G SIM for the first time will get either a 4G smartphone or a VND500,000 (US$19.50) voucher, plus 30GB of free data.

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